March 27, 2020 TVG Staff

The Elusive Subject Matter Expert

Here at TVG, we often say, it’s not a matter of if a crisis happens; it’s when. COVID-19 is here, the crisis is continuing, and the effects are felt by everyone around the world. The media is covering the crisis every day from every angle. Traditional media pitching of stories is tabled for now, in favor of subject matter experts. Are your experts ready for their closeup?

Whether it’s a healthcare expert talking about testing and treatment, a lawyer discussing business challenges, a travel expert talking about the effects on the industry or an insurance expert explaining business interruption claims, experts are needed to help fill the news cycle. The demand for experts is high, and audiences don’t always want to hear from the same expert. Speaker variety is at a premium during a crisis. We need experts to help voices be heard, provide calming messages and to provide context.  Subject matter experts can help the general public understand terms like pandemic, social distancing and virologist.

Many of the best experts aren’t usually in the spotlight – they simply do their jobs and do it well, which is why they are valued. We’ve trained experts for years to speak in front of audiences and talk to the media. We want to hear from real people, fighting COVID-19.  We want to see how they are living life now, and when they believe the worst could be over. Their opinion matters.

Subject matter experts must be understandable and relatable to the general public and be able to discuss it in detail without the acronyms and industry jargon we hear on a daily basis. Answers should be 10-15 seconds long, in short, easy-to-understand bursts. When experts speak that way, the message is more likely to be heard.

Subject matter experts are vital during any crisis, not just COVID-19. TVG works with experts to help their messages be heard on a bright, sunny day and when bad things are happening. We are here to help now and, in the future, when you and your team need it most. We are all in this together. Call us, visit our website or send us an email at


By Andy Likes, Senior Vice President at The Vandiver Group in St. Louis, Missouri


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